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Can Imagery Help with Reading Comprehension & Retention?

19 Oct

Dear Belleruth,
I use several of your tapes. I have difficulty when reading to concentrate on what I'm reading.  My mind continues to wonder and cannot remember what I have read. This has been going on for years. So, if I would ever have to take a test, I would panic. Is there a tape that you could recommend? At the moment I have been using your tape of self confidence.

Dear Cathy,
The Self-Confidence imagery is a good choice, as would be the imagery for Panic Attacks, which teaches basic self-regulation and relaxation skills, as well as offers imagery that reframes panic to a physiologically similar but far pleasanter condition: exhilaration, as the result of mastery (your heart pounds either way).

I don’t know enough about you to say either way, but if your trouble concentrating is the result of posttraumatic stress, then I would recommend the PTSD imagery as well.  Many people with traumatic histories spend a lot of time unconsciously scanning the environment for nonverbal danger cues (sudden noises, angry tones or facial expressions, the sound of someone approaching from behind, etc etc) and as a result, aren’t able to make full use of their brains for thinking, analyzing or synthesizing,  and reading comprehension can suffer dramatically.  When this is the case, it’s often misdiagnosed, in both adults and kids, as ADD (attention deficit disorder).  

On the other hand, it could be ADD, in which case, the imagery you’re using can help with concentration (we have research that shows immersive techniques such as imagery and hypnosis are helpful for concentration), as could a technique called neurofeedback, which has been getting great results in the research literature lately.  

I hope this helps!
All best,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award